Yet another way we can misapply submission is by assuming it squashes a woman’s gifts. But that is not God’s intent for submission. Remember, “each has received a gift” (1 Pet 4:10). This means every Christian: no exceptions and no reversals. We have each been given talents and spiritual gifts by God and we are called to use them, as it says in this verse “to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”
Submission does not limit a woman’s gifts, but provides a safety zone in which they can flourish. A humble husband will not assume he is the best at everything or exercise his leadership in an arrogant or domineering way. A wise husband will encourage, nourish, and cultivate his wife’s gifts for the good of the family and the church. And a godly wife will welcome that kind of godly leadership.
In some cases, submission means that at we heed our husband’s encouragement to step out and use our gifts, even if we are hesitant or afraid. And at other times, submission means we follow our husband when he thinks we should pull back from serving because we are overextended to the detriment of our spiritual health or family life.
So a submissive wife isn’t on the sidelines—she’s a good steward of God’s varied grace. And a wise and loving husband takes seriously his responsibility to encourage his wife to use her gifts for the glory of God.
Recently, my sweet 2-year-old misplaced her desire to sleep through the night. Mommy has been hard at work helping her to find that desire again. But it’s meant little sleep for Mommy at night and long days of wanting to crawl into the nearest bed. Mix in a rather nasty cold for the two-year-old and some pregnancy hormones for Mommy and I will leave the rest to your imagination.
But you know what? This tiny trial has forced me to draw near to God. And just as it tells me in His Word, He has been faithful to draw near to me (James 4:8). He has been reminding me of His sovereignty and love. This situation didn’t catch Him by surprise and it is the BEST for my girl and me. Sweet comfort!
So no matter where you find yourself today—in a trial big or tiny. Remember, the Lord isn’t surprised and He has PROMISED to work for your good in all things (Rom. 8:28).
These words from J. C. Ryle have brought me much encouragement:
“Reader, if God has given you His only begotten Son, beware of doubting His kindness and love, in any painful providence of your daily life! Never allow yourself to think hard thoughts of God. Never suppose that He can give you anything which is not really for your good. Remember the words of Paul: ‘He who spared not His own Son—but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things’ (Romans 8:32).
See in every sorrow and trouble of your earthly pilgrimage the hand of Him who gave Christ to die for your sins! That hand can never smite you except in love! He who gave His only begotten Son for you, will never withhold anything from you which is really for your good. Lean back on this thought and be content. Say to yourself in the darkest hour of trial, ‘This also is ordered by Him who gave Christ to die for my sins. It cannot be wrong. It is done in love. It must be well.’”
My sister-in-law Betsy has been one of my dearest friends for going on 36 years now. She’s also one of my favorite women teachers, and it’s not only because she reminds me of my husband with her earnest style and frequent hand gestures. Betsy is one of the most encouraging women I know. She has a profound and ever growing appreciation for the grace of God and you can’t leave her presence without her looking you straight in the eye and telling you how she sees that grace at work in your life.
So it was a special treat for me to sit under Betsy’s teaching this Saturday for not one, but two sessions! She spoke to the women of Covenant Life Church about God’s perspective on our emotions. And to begin, she took us to Genesis 1 and our Creator. Please listen (here and here) and be encouraged.
2011 at 2:38 pm | by Carolyn Mahaney
A wife’s initiative should always support and strengthen her husband’s leadership; and to that end, she should take lots of initiative!
Our job is to help our husband, care for our children, and manage our home. We must not think it is “unsubmissive” to use our skills, wisdom, and insight for the good of our family. In fact, it would be wrong to neglect them. Scripture and the godly women of church history bear this out.
For example, in 1 Timothy 5:14 Paul urges the young widows to “marry, bear children, [and] manage their households” (emphasis mine). This is a strong phrase, meaning to be the ruler, despot, or master of the house. Clearly Paul expects women to bear significant responsibility for home life.
Katie Luther was a woman who took some serious initiative in her marriage. Her husband Martin famously quipped: “In domestic affairs I defer to Katie. Otherwise I am led by the Holy Ghost.”
The Proverbs 31 woman presided over the entire range of responsibilities in her home. She advised her husband, cared for her children, supervised servants, oversaw land, invested money, bought, sold, and traded goods (just to name a few duties!). No one could accuse her of lacking initiative.
And Sarah Edwards took initiative to create a world where her husband could fulfill his God-given duties without being concerned about domestic tasks. As the story goes, Dr. Edwards emerged from his studies one day and asked his wife: “Isn’t it about time for the hay to be cut?” To which Sarah replied, “It’s been in the barn for two weeks.”
Inspired by these godly ladies, what initiative can you take for the good of your family today?